Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm Bringing Bellies Back

I have always had a belly. Even when I was 19 and weighed all of 90 pounds. Of course I would give anything to have that belly back now. The belly I have now is much bigger. Sometimes it looks like a 6-month food baby. Sometimes it feels like a 6-month food baby.

Unfortunately I have inherited my mother's apple shape. I gain weight first in my stomach and then, when it's really bad, it moves to my back. Meanwhile, my arms and legs stay skinny. It's never evenly distributed. I have no proportion.

Sometimes it's okay. Like when I first wake up in the morning and it seems kinda flat. I think I might have actually lost weight. And then gravity takes over and reality comes crashing in. Or down. Or out, whatever it may be.

I bought a super cute dress the other day. I tried it on, noticed the belly bump and thought, "this will look cute when I get skinny!" So I bought it. Because that's what I do. I buy clothes based on what I want to look like, not what I actually look like. I end up with a closet-full of clothes that I can't wear. Yet.

Yesterday I put the dress on. I'd lost a whole pound and thought, "Why the hell not?" And then I examined myself in the mirror a few dozen times before leaving the house. I asked Mr. A., "Do I look fat? Should I change?" He said no. He said "You have a belly. It doesn't make you fat." And then he said something about how it's because of cheese and booze and pasta and all I heard after a while was "wah wah wah wahh..." So I wore the damn dress.

And then I started to wonder why flat stomachs are so awesome. Sure, they're all toned and tight and youthful-looking. Whatever. But there was a time when plumpness was attractive. Hell, there was a time when rolls of flesh were attractive because they were a sign of wealth. Well, my belly is a sign that I've lived. I've had delicious, decadent meals with my friends and my family. I gave birth to the bestest girl in the world. I've spent time snuggling on the couch with adorable puppies when we maybe should have been out on walks. I have earned this belly and it should be sexy because it's a part of me.

So this is what I propose. We make bellies sexy again. They're feminine because of what we do with them. We give life and we sustain life. We take care of our families. We provide pillows for our little dogs' heads. We're sexy because of all of that and we should recognize it. These little 20-year-olds with their flat stomachs. Pssh. What do they know about being a real woman? They haven't lived yet.

Now, this isn't permission to get carried away. Nobody needs to see a detailed outline of your mushroom top. This isn't permission to dress like a full-out skank. We are ladies. We are classy. The belly should be treated with respect. And love.

Isn't that what it's really all about anyway? Loving ourselves? Flaws, quirks, imperfections and all? Big bellies, big feet, small ears, freckles, curly hair, stretch marks, wrinkles. We've earned it. Let's embrace it. Let's be the sexy beasts that we know we can be. That we, in fact, are.

Eat the ice cream. Drink the martini. Laugh with friends. Make love with abandon. Maybe even with the light on.

And when you finally do get that flat stomach, those toned abs? Love them too. I know I will.


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